According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, it doesn’t look like the Bears and Henry Melton are going to get a long-term contract done anytime soon.
Usually, if a deal is going to get done in these circumstances, there has been a fairly steady dialogue between the sides, even if no one is really budging. There hasn’t been that sense of urgency here, and with the Bears defense rapidly aging one would have expected more movement on this player. Melton didn’t delay signing his $8.9 million contract tender and took part in offseason work, which might have spurred a deal as well … only it hasn’t to this point. Melton responded well to the pressure of playing out his deal a year ago, rising to Pro Bowl form. If he reaches that level again in 2013, absent a long-term deal, then I suspect the Bears would have to franchise him again or they’ll lose him on the open market.
The Bears would be smart to sign Melton to a long-term deal. He’s only 26 years-old and it would likely give them more cap room. They currently only have $1.6 million to work with in 2013.